What does a business analyst do in software development industry
Business Analyst (BA), Functional Analyst or Business Consultant? Or IT Business Analyst! So many titles for the same profession. Who is a BA? What is Business Analysis? Where does this role fit within the software development world? What are the key skills/knowledge possessed by BA and which tasks can be expected while doing this job?
As a graduate of the Managerial Informatics Master programme at the Faculty of Economics and Business in Zagreb, I joined CROZ 3 months ago. Unaware of Business Analyst role, just a day after landing back to Zagreb from a year of studies in Sweden I stumbled upon summer internship call for Business Analyst. The vacancy description was brief, not giving a lot of information but it created just that little spark of interest in my mind to discover the unknown and jump into a new professional adventure.
Why? Well, the title was intriguing.
Business – that’s what I am studying and what I’m very passionate about in general.
Analyst – I do have a few of OCDs and I love to analyze most random things in my life and surroundings.
And lastly, IT industry – I cannot lie that this very lucrative industry was a big plus for me to apply. And again my master’s studies are all about Information Technology.
All of that, plus some idea of mixing up my passion for business topics with potentially nerdy IT stuff – made me apply. And here I am – a full-time employee working with the amazing software development team at CROZ on such random projects I could never have even imagined I would have to learn all about. But I have no regrets at all, on the contrary – I am very excited to proceed and evolve in an encouraging and positive environment as CROZ.
To help you get into this role and save you some time, I’ve decided to write this blog.
Well, let’s focus and start somewhere.
The Big Picture
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a process used by the software industry to design, develop and test high-quality software products. It consists of several steps but it always starts with analysis and planning. The initiating process of enabling changes within the company by clarifying requirements and creating solutions for business stakeholders is called business analysis.
Each step of the cycle includes professionals and key stakeholders who make sure to coordinate the project with the business requirements. The aim is to ensure high-quality execution of defined tasks through every step. On one side there are stakeholders requiring changes, while on the other side there is a team developing and delivering solutions. Business Analyst acts as a bridge by proactively cooperating with both sides to ensure communication and information flow.
Job Description & Summary
Business Analyst (BA) is a role within the software development team, a competent connection between the client (the business side) and the development team (the software side). BA actively communicates with a client, collecting their requirements and transforming them into deliverable pieces more easily understood by the development team. Assuring the immersive interconnection of the software and real business needs is a key role for business analysts. Bearing in mind many exceptions any business may have could be a key factor for successful delivery and client satisfaction.
Long story short – Business Analyst should listen, understand, think out of the presented domain and then translate it into software developing narrative. It is a great combination of business knowledge, IT hard skills (documentation, databases, system logs), with a whole bunch of soft skills such as communication (with different professionals and mind-sets), teamwork, segmentation and prioritization of work, curiosity for new business domains, and willingness to constantly learn new things. Everything is possible if you are ready to learn and improve.
Role & Responsibilities
The BA must thoroughly understand a business problem presented by the client. This role owns the knowledge about the process that is the backbone of the future software solution tool delivered. Business Analysts should collect relevant information from the client about the process, analyse it, create first proposals of a solution, document them, discuss them with all of the stakeholders and move on to the development team. The BA must be involved through the whole life cycle of the product – from initial understanding and analysis of a business problem, through development, delivering and implementation of the product, to the maintenance. There is also direct communication with the client on-site, sometimes even educating them on how to use the delivered software. Quite dynamic, huh?
Experience & Qualifications
Working as a Business Analyst is an ongoing process of learning, handling new situations and managing a different work pace from project to project. Therefore, qualifications are secondary, while experience and personal characteristics are of much greater value.
Business Analysts usually do have a degree and it definitely gives them a better starting point because they have a wider knowledge in certain fields such as economy, business, banking, telecommunications, etc. But a degree is not a compulsory requirement. Soft skills and experience can be more important. Eagerness to learn new things and understanding the unknown will, in the long run, create more return on investment.
And experience! Young professionals or graduates often think they lack experience, but that could be false. Working in teams on student projects, presenting work outcomes to a group of strangers, being the head of some student body or civil organization, negotiating, writing short papers and overviews – all that is a valuable experience for the BA role. One gets certain skills that help when dealing with an indecisive client and very opinionated colleagues. It also helps you deal with a high amount of work and stress that could make somebody else lose motivation and quit their job immediately.
The business analyst role exists in the project segmented work process. Different projects, different work scope, different industry and then even different job titles (Digital Business Analyst, IT Business Analyst, Functional Analyst, System Analyst or just Business Analyst…).
But, whatever the title says, the role is a very exciting one with never-ending new challenges that help you grow professionally and personally. It will surprise even you to which extent you will become an expert in some business areas. Working in teams and communicating with clients, gives a great diversity and dynamic to everyday work, making it always interesting, fresh and motivating.
So, grab this amazing opportunity and check out our job vacancies or summer internships. Just be bold, believe in yourself and go for it! Everything is a learning process, and mistakes don’t exist – they are just opportunities to learn even more! ☺
P.S. Apart from working closely with my development team, I actively collaborate with the entire department of Business Analysis within the company. More than 30 of us quite often gather on morning coffees, retrospectives and to share experience, knowledge or just randomly talk and hang. It is super helpful to learn from more experienced colleagues but also feel welcomed and fit within the company as early as possible.
Except for sharing knowledge and experience, we share gifts in the holiday season as well. ☺
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